BUDGET 2017 – F-35, P-8 top project expenditures for 2017-18

Defence will spend $6.6 billion on its Top 30 major acquisitions programs in 2017-18, budget papers show.

Of that total some $1.1 billion (over 17 per cent) will be spent on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, as acquisition of the RAAF’s next fighter begins to ramp up considerably. The acquisition of 72 F-35As under Project AIR 6000 Phase 2A/2B has a total budget of $16 billion, of which $1.5 billion will have been spent through to June 30 this year, the Portfolio Budget Statements show

“Major activities during 2017-18 will include: progressing the production of Australia’s next eight F-35A aircraft, including delivery of four aircraft; commencing the procurement of a further eight F-35A aircraft; continue maturing the development of a sustainment model for Australian based support; commencing detailed planning and support for the ferry of the first two Australian F-35A aircraft to RAAF Williamtown in 2018; and Australian pilots and maintainers,” the budget notes.

The budget also records the planned wind down in F/A-18 classic Hornet flying hours as the F-35 fleet builds up, falling from 16,700 in the current financial year to a planned 4,750 hours in 2020-21.

Meanwhile $853 million will be spent in 2017-18 on the ongoing acquisition of the P-8A Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft, with a further aircraft planned for delivery in the next financial year.

“Major financial requirements in 2017-18 relate to the delivery of aircraft, aircrew and maintenance training devices, an operational load management system, air-to-air refuelling clearance activities, spares and transition training,” the PBS reads of the $5.3 billion AIR 7000 Phase 2 acquisition of 12 P-8As to replace the RAAF’s AP-3C Orions.

Elsewhere 10 Pilatus PC-21 trainers are due to be delivered in 2017-18, the budget notes, as $239 million is spent on the AIR 5428 Pilot Training System Program (out of a total budget of $1.2 billion).

“During 2017-18, 10 training aircraft and four flight training simulators will be delivered. Installation of an associated learning environment will commence at RAAF Base Pearce, WA, and one will be completed at RAAF Base East Sale, VIC, enabling RAAF to validate training material,” the budget states of AIR 5428.


  1. says

    I personally had a tour of the P-8 ,and is a great force multiplier.The things they showed me was amazing.Great buy RAAF.

  2. Fabian says

    this and the joint capability with the f-35, triton other air force assets, army assets and the navy’s AWD destroyers will greatly enhance Australia’s defence capability and force projection.

  3. Raymond says

    The ADF… on the way to becoming a truly fifth generation force.

    The best small defence force in the world.

    Thank you to government for funding this, and thank you to those serving and all others involved for making it happen.

  4. breeder says

    this and the joint capability with the f-35, triton other air force assets, army assets and the navy’s AWD destroyers will greatly enhance Australia’s defence capability and force projection

    what bs. the f35 is useless.

  5. Gary says

    Breeder – Oh god here we go again! I presume you have access to the full range of capabilities of the F35 both classified an unclassified? Please provide factual evidence that the F35 is useless. Yes it has shortcomings; however, these are being rectified through Testing and Eval.

  6. Gary says


    No I do not but I would love too! But I am sick and tired of people reading one side of the story from anti F35 zealots. A bit of research would find that the F35 performed extremely well in RF17-1 plus the USMC are more than happy with the way the jet is settling into their ORBAT. If people would temper their comments with the understanding that the jet is still undergoing a lot of testing.

  7. says

    F-35 is a complex beast and yeah problems with something with more lines of software than you care to count but there is logic to its complexity and it is called the OODA loop which refers to the decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act, developed by military strategist and United States Air Force Colonel John Boyd. Boyd who applied the concept to the combat operations process , and getting inside of the decision making process of your enemy means just as the F-86 should have been cold meat in the Korean war against the Mig-15 its rate of roll and stability as a gun platform left the American pilot an advantage that lower speed and ceiling could not detract from .

  8. says

    Gary,I’m sick and tired of pro F-35 zealots who only read the pro side.Now Gary,I read both sides.Yes the jet is going through testing still,but HOW LONG MORE!!!! I really hope the jet is as good as what they say it is.Do yourself a favour,and look at both sides.You pro F-35 people need to get a grip.Of course the pilots and maintainers sing praises.What do u think they are going to say.As they say,we will see how it fares in combat.Nothing is good until its proven.This blind faith by u guys is becoming very annoying.I hope I’m wrong.Time will tell.

  9. John Cox. says

    Oh the negative noise from arm chair experts.
    At 82 years. old I have heard it all before particularly on the introduction of the F 111, the same tripe was pushed by the armchair experts of that era and how wrong the were.
    Have some faith in our superb defence personnel boys,

  10. Dee Thom says

    Well said John.
    I recall that the Government even leased a Sqn of Phantoms to phly for our R.A.A.Ph.

  11. says

    John,I am not an armchair expert.I have never said it was useless.All I’m saying is I hope it is as good as they say.

  12. Gary says

    I do not belong to the pro F35 lobby. All I am saying is let is complete it’s development without being bagged at every opportunity. I too remember the intro of the F111 and how that was bagged at every opportunity. I suggest we take up this conversation in say around two to three years!

  13. AlanH says

    5th Gen aircraft are no longer about how well they turn in a dogfight … it’s all about situational awareness and electronic coordination of the whole group and applying appropriate group counter measures. The USAF boffins assure us that at this the F35 is right up there, as do our RAAF top brass. Sure it might be whipped in a dogfight with an Su-27/30 or MiG-29/35, but the idea is that they won’t get close enough to engage in a dogfight, esp with Wedgetails and Growlers thrown into the mix. I think the RAAF is on the right track buying the F35 as a force multiplier along with its other assets.

  14. Zarg says

    How soon we forget the F-111 saga. Mothballed from 1968 to 1973 to fix wing problems, finally retired in 2010. History repeats? F-35 is not, never was and will not be used as a classic dog-fighter! Welcome to the 21st Century Air Combat!

  15. Mick181 says

    In WW2 the last thing that the Hellcat & Corsair pilots ever done was get into a dog fight with Zeros, couldn’t match them so they devised other tactics, got vastly superior trg, better ISR, C&C & logistics. Result, in the last great Carrier battle of the war in what become known as the Great Marianas Turkey shoot the Americans shot down Japanese planes at the rate of 15-1.
    One of the truly great sayings in War, fight the Enemy on your terms not his. The F-35 allied with the Force Multipliers will give the RAAF a far better chance of dictating when, where and how the fight will be fought than our adversaries.
    Funny thing about the JSF, all the bad reports are in Newspapers, news sites and Current affairs shows by people who couldn’t tell the difference between an Abrams and a Flanker, while the true experts on the Aviation & Military sites(such as this one) are far fairer in there reporting and far more positive in their appraisal of the JSF.
    The JSF hate campaign has been lead by a certain group (i won’t name, but some here know who I’m talking about) who believe they have an axe to grind.

  16. Raymond says

    Anyone unfairly biased against the F-35 is stuck in the past and doesn’t understand that trying to fight tomorrow’s conflicts with yesterday’s weapons and tactics will come off second best, and we know that in this game there is no second prize.

    The F-35 is a winner and a game changer. Welcome to 21st century combat.

  17. Raymond says

    Great! No more wasting time then arguing against the F-35. Because that’s all it is.